Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) for babies (less than 12 months of age)

Disclaimer: This fact sheet is for education purposes only. Please consult with your doctor or other health professional to make sure this information is right for your child.

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CPR for babies (less than 12 months)

There are 7 steps to follow when helping a collapsed person. The steps are as follows.


  • Check for DANGER
  • Check for RESPONSE
  • SEND for help
  • Open the baby’s AIRWAY
  • Check if the baby is BREATHING normally
  • Start CPR
  • DEFIBRILLATOR or an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) – for patients instructed by a medical team

Check for DANGER

Check the area for danger to yourself, the baby and anyone else in the immediate area. Remove it, or move the baby to a safe area.

Check for RESPONSE

Check for a response using the talk and touch approach. Place one hand on the baby’s forehead and use the other hand to gently squeeze the baby’s shoulder, while talking loudly to them.

The baby may respond by opening their eyes, making a noise or moving. If they respond, stay with them to make sure they recover. If you are worried, seek medical advice.

SEND for help

If the baby does not respond, send for help immediately by calling 000 or 112 (from your mobile phone only).

Call 000 or 112(mobile phone)

  • Stay calm, speak slowly and ask for an ambulance.
  • The operator will ask you a number of questions to make sure that the right help is sent as quickly as possible.
  • DO NOT hang up the phone - Put it on speaker, if possible, and the operator will be able to give you advice while you wait for the ambulance.

If there is someone with you, get them to make the call and ensure access for the paramedics to the house.

You can then continue with the next steps in DRS ABCD.

Open the baby’s AIRWAY

To open the airway;

  • Lay the baby on their back, on a firm surface. Make sure their head is not tilted forwards or backwards.
  • Use your fingers to lift the chin up towards you.

Open the mouth and if you can see;

-fluid: then place the baby on their side to help drain the fluid.

-an object: if you can get to it easily, place baby on their side and use your thumb and index finger (in a pincer grip)  to remove the object. Be careful not to push the object further into the throat.

The baby may recover as a result of you clearing the airway.

Check if the baby is BREATHING normally

To check if the baby is breathing;

  • look for movement of the baby’s chest and abdomen (stomach).
  • listen for breathing sounds by placing your ear close to the baby’s mouth and nose
  • feel for air when listening for breathing sounds.

Look, listen and feel for up to 10 seconds.

If the baby is breathing normally, but is still not responding, place them on their side. Check them regularly to make sure their condition doesn’t worsen while you wait for the ambulance.

If the baby is not breathing normally, they will need CPR.

Start CPR

To give chest compressions, use 2 fingers or one hand, depending on the size of the baby and your own strength.


  • Place your fingers or hand on the lower half of the breastbone, which is in the centre of the chest.
  • Push down to 1/3rd of the depth of the chest 30 times.
  • Push fast, at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute.

Once you have given 30 compressions, you should then give 2 breaths.

To give breaths lift the chin up as described earlier.

  • Take a breath yourself.
  • Open your mouth and place it over the baby’s mouth and nose.
  • Slowly blow enough air to see the baby’s chest rise and fall.

Continue repeating 30 compressions to 2 breaths until the ambulance arrives and takes over or the baby begins to respond.

If you are unable to or prefer not to give breaths, continue to give chest compressions without stopping until the ambulance arrives. 


In most instances, it is unlikely that a baby will need an AED. Concentrate on giving effective CPR while you wait for an ambulance.

For patients advised by a medical team, use an AED as instructed.


  • Send for help by calling triple zero (000), as soon as possible.
  • Any attempt at CPR is better than no attempt.

CPR training for parents

Learn how to perform CPR on a baby through a FREE online program at 

The Children's Hospital at Westmead
Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick
Hunter New England Kids Health

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